Start My Answer

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Maryland (2022 Guide)

George Simons | October 19, 2022

When you win your debt collection lawsuit in Maryland ^^

Summary: You have 15-30 days to respond to a Writ of Summons for debt collection in Maryland. You should respond by filing an Answer (also known as a Notice of Intent to Defend). SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer in just 15 minutes.

If you were served with a Writ of Summons for debt collection in Maryland, you may be feeling scared and anxious about the future. SoloSuit is here to help.

Below, you will find helpful information and advice on what is needed to answer a summons for debt collection in Maryland. This list includes information specific to debt collection lawsuits in Maryland, such as deadlines and forms specific to the state.


Maryland deadline for answering a debt collection Writ of Summons

When you get sued for a debt in Maryland, you receive a Writ of Summons and Complaint in the mail. The Summons document notifies you of the lawsuit, while the Complaint lists the claims that are being made against you. Most debt collection lawsuits are under the jurisdiction of the Maryland district courts.

There is a section on the Writ of Summons called the Notice of Intention to Defend. If you plan to fight back against the case, you must sign and file the Notice of Intention to Defend before the deadline.

In Maryland, the deadline to respond to a Writ of Summons and Complaint is 15 days. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, which are listed in Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure for the District Court, Rule 3-307:

“(a) To Be Filed With Court--When Service Not Required. The defendant, including a counter-defendant, cross-defendant, and third-party defendant, shall file with the court a notice of intention to defend which may include any explanation or ground of defense. When the defendant is represented by an attorney, the notice shall be served in accordance with Rule 1-321. A defendant not represented by an attorney need not serve the notice on any party.

(b) Time for Filing. (1)Generally. Except as provided by subsection (b)(2) of this Rule, the notice shall be filed within 15 days after service of the complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim.

(2)Exceptions. A defendant shall file the notice within 60 days after being served if the defendant is:

(A) served outside of the State;

(B) a person who is required by statute of this State to have a resident agent and who is served by service upon the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, the Insurance Commissioner, or some other agency of the State authorized by statute to receive process; or

(C) the United States or an officer or agency of the United States served pursuant to Rule 3-124(m) or (n).”

If you want to respond to the debt collection Summons by filing a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party claim, make sure to file your document within 10 days of the deadline for filing the Notice of Intention to Defend.

The deadline in Maryland circuit court is different

According to Maryland Circuit Court Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 2-321(a) states:

General Rule. A party shall file an answer to an original complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim within 30 days after being served, except as provided by sections (b) and (c) of this Rule.”

In other words, you have 30 days to respond to a Summons and Complaint in Maryland circuit courts. Like the district court, there are some exceptions to this rule at the circuit court level. You can check the exceptions listed in Rule 2-321(b).

Maryland Answer to Summons Forms

Maryland tries to make it relatively easy for a defendant to answer a summons. This is why the Writ of Summons document includes a Notice of Intention to Defend that you can fill out and send back as your response.

That being said, the Notice of Intent to Defend doesn't have a lot of room for you to explain your side of the case. SoloSuit's Answer form, which is the same thing as filing a Notice of Intent to Defend, gives you room to respond to all the claims and defend yourself.

Maryland does not charge a fee to file an Answer

Good news: there is no fee to file an Answer or Notice of Intent to Defend in Maryland. The only out-of-pocket expense you might have to pay would be the cost of a stamp when mailing.

However, if you decide to file a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party claim, the filing fee is $18.

What debt collectors can't do in Maryland

In order to respond effectively to a debt collection case in Maryland, you should have a general understanding of the laws and regulations governing this type of civil action.

In Maryland, the law governing debt collection cases is Commercial Law §§ 14-201 through 14-204 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. These statutory provisions contain a variety of limitations on what debt collection companies can do, and how they can attempt to collect on an alleged outstanding stand. According to this law, debt collectors

  • Can't use or threaten to use force or violence to collect an alleged outstanding debt;
  • Can't threaten criminal prosecution;
  • Can't disclose or threaten to disclose information that will negatively impact your reputation;
  • Can't contact your employer;
  • Can't attempt to contact you during "unusual hours" (extremely early in the morning, late at night, etc.); and
  • Can't use obscene or grossly abusive language while communicating with you.

If debt collectors have used any of these methods to get you to pay off a debt, you can add it as an affirmative defense in your Answer document. You can also consider filing a counterclaim, because you may be entitled to compensation.

Follow these steps to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Maryland

The best way to respond to a debt collection case in Maryland is to file a Notice of Intention to Defend, which is located on the bottom portion of the Writ of Summons. However, the Notice of Intent to Defend only allows you to include so much information. This is why it is better, in most cases, to file an Answer (which doubles as a Notice of Intention to Defend).

Follow these three steps to prepare your Answer to a debt collection lawsuit in Maryland:

  1. Respond to each claim listed in the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer in court, and send a copy to the opposing attorney.

Now, let's break down each of these steps a little further. Don't like reading? Check out this video instead:

1. Answer each claim listed in the Complaint

Your Answer document should focus primarily on responding to the specific claims, or allegations, listed in the Complaint document that you received. In response to each allegation, you can admit, deny, or deny due to lack of knowledge. Let's explain.

  • When you admit a claim, it's like saying “This is true.” When you admit a claim, there is no contest. Admitting all the claims in your Answer would probably lead to a judgment against you.
  • When you deny a claim, it's like saying “Prove it.” Keep in mind that this isn't the same as saying “This is not true.” Denying a claim is simply refusing to admit it as truth before a court of law.
  • When you deny a claim due to lack of knowledge, it's like saying “I don't know.” This is a perfectly fine response to use if you aren't sure about the allegations being made against you.

Most attorneys recommend denying as many claims as possible, because this will force the plaintiff to do more work to prove their side of the case. If they don't have the proper documentation for proof, their case won't stand.

Draft an Answer to your debt lawsuit in 15 minutes with SoloSuit.

2. Assert your affirmative defenses

If you decide to contest the debt collection lawsuit, invest the time in researching affirmative defenses. You may be wondering, “what is an affirmative defense?” Well, it is essentially an argument you make before the court, or in a motion, that the debt collection company suing you does not have a viable case. Here are some examples of affirmative defenses:

  • The account alleged to be delinquent is not your account.
  • The contract was already canceled. Therefore you don't owe the creditor anything.
  • The debt collector's lawsuit was filed outside the statute of limitations (more on this below). It is extremely important to affirmatively raise the statute of limitations since the court will not know the statute of limitations expired. The responsibility is on you to advocate for yourself and assert these affirmative defenses. It is possible to show the court that the statute of limitations expired by introducing a copy of the debt on your credit report as evidence.

These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. However, it is important to note that simply being unable to pay back your debt is not typically a viable legal defense.

In Maryland, a Writ of Summons needs to be properly served in accordance with state law. In some instances, a debt collection lawsuit is not properly served or was improperly served. If you find yourself in this situation, you can raise this issue with the court to challenge the lawsuit. You can file a pretrial request that the case be dismissed for improper service or raise improper service during trial.

SoloSuit can help you assert your affirmative defenses in the right way.

3. File the Answer in court, and send a copy to the opposing attorney.

After you've drafted your Answer, you should file it within the Maryland's state deadline (15 days for district court cases, and 30 days for circuit court cases). Maryland's court e-filing system making filing your Answer easy in some counties. It is not a statewide service, so you might have to mail your Answer for filing or drop it off in person.

SoloSuit knows all the steps to court filing in Maryland, so you can save the stress of doing it yourself.

After filing your Answer, make a copy and send it to the opposing attorney via USPS certified mail. The attorney's address should be listed on the Writ of Summons document and the Complaint.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


We have answers.
Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.


Ask a Question


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

Statute of limitations on debt in Maryland

There are specific time limits, set forth by Maryland laws, that govern the validity of a debt collection lawsuit. Basically, if a debt collection lawsuit is filed after the specific time limit expires, that lawsuit will likely be barred from moving forward. These laws are known as statute of limitations.

In fact, Maryland Statutes §5–101 states:

“ A civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues unless another provision of the Code provides a different period of time within which an action shall be commenced.”

This means that, in Maryland, the statute of limitations for a debt collection lawsuit is three years. In other words, debt collectors are required to initiate their case within three years of the time that the last activity was made on an account. This applies to both alleged debts based on a written contract and "open accounts" (credit cards).

If a debt collector is attempting to collect an alleged amount owed on a credit card, it means the date of the last activity (the date of last payment) on the account or the date the account was written off as a bad debt was at least three years ago.

As a result, if your account is older than three years, it is possible to assert the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense and get the case dismissed entirely.

The table below further outlines the MD statute of limitations on debt:

Maryland Statute of Limitations on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

3

Written

3

Promissory

6

Open

3

Credit Card

3

Judgements

12


Source: Findlaw


Learn more about how the statute of limitations can be used in a debt collection lawsuit here.

If you need assistance defending yourself from a debt collection lawsuit, there are organizations in Maryland who are ready and able to provide assistance. For example, Maryland Legal Aid is the largest provider of free, direct legal services in the State of Maryland and has 12 office locations in Baltimore City and in Maryland's 23 counties.

In addition to Maryland Legal Aid, there is also the Debtor Assistance Project, which is a collaborative legal clinic featuring an innovative partnership between the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland and members of the legal community in Maryland. The Debtor Assistance Project provides people with the opportunity to meet with a volunteer bankruptcy attorney for a free half-hour case review. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a volunteer attorney through the Debtor Assistant Project, you need to schedule an appointment by phone. You can also meet with a volunteer attorney in person at the following locations:

Baltimore Federal Courthouse
101 W. Lombard Street, 1st Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Easton-Office of MidShore Pro Bono
8 S. West Street
Easton, MD 21601

Greenbelt Federal Courthouse
6500 Cherrywood Lane, 1st Floor
Greenbelt, MD 20770

Maryland court locations

Even though you can file your Answer online or send it to the courthouse in the mail, you might prefer to drop it off at the courthouse in person. Use this Maryland court directory to visit your court's website, find your courthouse address, and contact your court's clerk. Just click on your county on the left of the screen, and several options will appear that will help you locate your court.

Maryland courts by case type

In Maryland, debt collection lawsuits can be litigated in one of two types of courts:

  1. General District Court
  2. Circuit Court

General District Courts possess exclusive jurisdiction over any civil claim seeking $5,000 or less. The General District Courts and Circuit Courts share jurisdiction over civil claims where the amount at issue is between $5,001 and $30,000. If the lawsuit is seeking an amount above $30,000, then it must be filed in a Circuit Court.

Key Takeaways

So, in summary, here is an overview on how to respond to a Writ of Summons for debt collection in Maryland.

  • You have 15 days to file your Answer (also known as Notice of Intent to Defend) in the district court (60 days if you do not reside in Maryland).
  • You have 30 days to file your Answer in the circuit courts.
  • You can use SoloSuit's Answer form to prepare and send your response to the debt lawsuit in Maryland.
  • There is no fee to file an Answer in Maryland courts.
  • Your Answer document should focus on responding to each allegation listed in the Complaint and asserting your affirmative defenses.
  • File your Answer with the court before the deadline, and send a copy of it to the opposing attorney. SoloSuit can file for you.

Best of Luck!

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.



Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.


Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court